Gone are the days when ravewear meant fluorescent tutu skirts and fluffy leg warmers. Today’s club kids favour an altogether darker, more dystopian palette that has emerged out of today’s political, social and economic unrest. With cheap rents and plenty of space, the New East has become home to some of the wildest nights, which include the most outlandish of dress codes. Kiev’s notorious rave Cxema, started during Ukraine’s recession, from its conception has been associated with flea markets like Lesnaya, where second hand gems pile up to the ceiling. However, you’re going to need a bit more than a bum-bag and bucket hat to party in Kiev or Tbilisi. To make things easier, follow our fool-proof guide to nailing new rave circa 2017.
Dance in denim
Who said ravewear was all about lycra? Denim might not be an obvious choice for partying through the night and into the following afternoon, unless of course you’re heading to a barn rave. However, there are ways you can bring back denim to the dancefloor, and still be comfortable. Ukraine-based photographer and stylist Yana Franz, who heads her own vintage shop, YANA FRANZ STORE, has the perfect solution if you’re someone who likes to pop a squat on a night out — super, slit jeans. If that’s not your thing, a roomy pair or recycled dungarees, such as those by another Ukrainian label, Goret Clothing, will do the job.
Throw on some shades
The question isn’t whether to wear sunglasses indoors but which kind? Slim, Noughties-era frames, such as those from the Matrix, have been doing the rounds at raves and parties in Ukraine and beyond. If you have nothing to hide there’s the rimless, tinted style of sunglasses from the same era. However, if you want to protect yourself from phone flashes at all costs, it might be worth scouring the second hand markets for some single-lens shades — or just wear your ski mask if all else fails.
That choker you’ve worn to death, it’s time to upgrade it. Brands like Fleet Ilya, Asya Malbershtein and Alina Muha, that celebrate bondage-inspired accessories, all originated in the New East. Only this kind of nightwear is not for the bedroom but for clubs and warehouse parties. Most importantly, there’s no need to go nude — a harness can be worn over T-shirts and paired with a cap, whatever your sex.
Gas mask, surgical mask or a Mad Max-style human muzzle are all viable options if you dare to wear them. Party-goers at nights like Cxema in Kiev or festivals like Unsound in Kraków can be seen sporting neoprene anti-pollution masks, the kind that are generally reserved for cycling. These come in various colours, but a solid black number is a sure way to complete your health goth look.
If a mask isn’t enough then how about a bullet-proof vest? We hope you would never actually need one of these. To look armour-clad without the cost, just strap on a black rucksack to your front — this way your belongings will be protected and within easy reach, while you perfect your dance moves.
Spice up your life
Harnesses, masks and bulletproof vests tick all the boxes if you’re looking to be both stylish and ready to survive the approching apocalypse. But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Once in a while, it’s worth digging through your all-black sportswear uniform and finding a good old party dress, to grunge up with a chunky choker and platforms.
Normcore, the anti-trend most associated with nondescript clothing like baseball caps and sneakers, totally legitimised dressing like everyone else. It is no longer faux pas to bump into someone at a party in the exact same outfit, so embrace it. Couples can plan matching outfits: pick an item of clothing you both own, whether it’s a T-shirt or turtleneck, just leave the “his” and “her” bathrobes at home.
Go with the fluro
When it doubt, just got for old-school neon. Inspired by both club culture and safetywear, Russian designer Yulia Vorobieva broke down the rave-look for her Turbo Yulia Spring/Summer 2017 collection into three important components — baseball caps, safety goggles and hi-vis vests. A tool bag would also be a nice touch, if you want to fool people into thinking you’re an actual builder.